FamilyWise prescription card can help with co-pays

Many of us are fortunate to have adequate medical insurance, but that is not the case for many local families. Prescription costs and co-pays can get so high that families may have to miss paying certain bills for the month, or even just chose to risk going without essential medication. Fortunately, FamilyWize was created to help people forced to make these tough decisions.

FamilyWize is a free program and has saved participants an average of 45 percent off of their prescription medications. It essentially acts as a huge consumer group, buying service for the uninsured and underinsured. The discounts and savings on medications are provided voluntarily by more than 60,000 participating pharmacies that have agreed to provide prices similar to what they give large insurance companies and employers.

The card works similar to a reusable prescription coupon on all FDA-approved medicines, and you can use it immediately. The FamilyWize card has no eligibility requirements and is available to anyone. There are no forms to fill out, waiting period or complicated registration process.

If you have prescription drug coverage, this program can be used to obtain savings on prescription drugs that are excluded by your insurance plan or are not covered because you have exceeded your insurance plan’s maximum limits. In some rare instances, you might even find that the FamilyWize prescription card’s price is lower than your program’s co-payment amount. In addition, if your insurance plan does not offer you a drug card and you are reimbursed after each transaction, you may be able to use the FamilyWize to lower your out-of-pocket expenses. When people can afford their prescriptions, they end up saving even more money by helping to avoid expensive items such as emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

The FamilyWize Community Service Partnership was established in 2005 by Dan and Susan Barnes to reduce the cost of prescriptions for people who live and work in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. Distribution of these cards was later coordinated by the local United Way. United Ways in other communities quickly heard about the program and started asking if they could get cards for their communities.

Since 2005, FamilyWize has helped almost 11 million Americans live healthier lives by saving them more than $1 billion on lifesaving prescription drugs. Just in 2017, 2,095 local residents have saved $108,407 on prescription medications through Middlesex United Way’s partnership with FamilyWize. More than 80,000 community and faith-based organizations, county agencies, doctors, pharmacies, companies and individuals across the country are now joined together in this partnership to distribute free FamilyWize prescription drug savings cards in their communities.

Here locally, FamilyWize is accepted by major pharmacies, including CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens and Walmart, as well as many local retailers. To look up local pharmacies that accept FamilyWize and to look up prescription drug prices, visit familywize.org.

To sign up for the program, visit the site, download the Android or Apple app or print out the card. We also have them at our office if you’d like to stop in.

Kevin Wilhelm is executive director and CEO of the Middlesex United Way in Middletown.